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The Road Less Traveled: BR-319

When it comes to the math of improving one of the world’s most controversial roads, it’s important to include all the numbers. In 2009, powerful government officials lobbied for the paving of BR-319, a nearly impassable, 500-mile route through Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. The road was opened by the country’s military rulers in the 1970’s but soon abandoned for lack of use. Supporters of the plan to reopen it claimed that the road would bring economic opportunities to isolated communities as sure as downpours came from the Amazonian sky. But CSF’S study showed the numbers don’t begin to add up. In fact, they’re not even close. To this day, BR-319, which if blacktopped, could have an environmental ripple effect on the world, remains tangled in luxuriant jungle.

Watch this Video on Roads and Rain Forests

That roads cause deforestation has been known for decades, documented in scholarly and anecdotal accounts. But this outstanding video from roadfree.org may be the most effective telling of this roads-and-forests story yet! Watch it. If you care about nature and have a sense of humor you'll want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Roadlessness was at the center of policy battles over US public lands in the 1990s.  Now it's gaining some traction in the tropics, where the advance of roads has fragmented nature into smaller and smaller bits, condemning certain species, especially large predators, as well as indigenous cultures that depend on not having contact with the modern world. 

Community Cost-Benefit Analysis

In September 2009, Theresa Kas visited the small village of Sohoneliu in the Manus Province of her native Papua New Guinea. It was a dramatic change of scenery from Stanford, where, a month earlier, she had completed Conservation Strategy Fund’s international “Economic Tools for Conservation” course. Kas, who works with The Nature Conservancy, saw that deforestation was on the rise and traditional hunting was dwindling, and wondered if the local economy’s resource base was careening toward collapse. So she pulled out her CSF notes and put them to use.

Bringing CSF’s Conservation Economic Tools Training to Development Banks

Last month, we had the opportunity to bring CSF’s economic analysis training to a new audience – the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington D.C.  The IDB approves over $11 billion dollars in loans each year, and is a major force in shaping the face of development in Latin America.  We delivered two training workshops for transport and water sector specialists from various country offices, and a shorter session for IDB Economists based in D.C.

CSF awarded $100,000 grant from Margaret A. Cargill Foundation

In November, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation's Environment Program awarded CSF $100,000 as part of our expanding marine initiative. This award will fund a decision-makers workshop and a mentored groundwork field analysis.

CSF brings together journalists and conservation experts at forum in Brasilia

On November 12th, in Brasília, Brazil, 30 journalists from the Amazonian regional media as well as from the national and international outlets attended an infrastructure-focused workshop organized by CSF-Brasil. These professionals hailed from various organizations including O Eco, IPAM, IMAZON, WWF, and TNC. John Lyons of the Wall Street Journal, Wilson Cabral of Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica, and Paul E. Little, anthropologist and infrastructure expert, were also in attendance. Speakers shared information about the impacts of infrastructure projects on ecosystem services in the Amazon. The event provided a forum to discuss infrastructure project planning as well as key environmental, social, economic and legal issues that need to be understood by society.

Negócios Sustentáveis na Amazônia Brasileira

Algumas atividades econômicas desenvolvidas por populações tradicionais na Amazônia podem se tornar uma estratégia complementar de contenção do desmatamento no Brasil. Com esse objetivo, a Conservação Estratégica vem apoiando atividades de baixo impacto e manejadas na região amazônica para que se tornem negócios sustentáveis também sob a perspectiva econômica.

From Prison to Paradise

Coastal habitats worldwide produce billions of dollars in fishing and tourism income. In drawing up a management plan for one of its premier island sites, the Coiba National Park, Panama’s government was faced with decisions over how to make the most of the island gem’s economic potential without damaging its fragile ecosystems. In 2007, CSF joined the Smithsonian Institution and Conservation International to solve that dilemma.

Capturing Value at Bolivia's Most Visited Park

The Arbol de Piedra, or “Stone Tree,” is a lone 20-foot rock that has been sculpted by wind and sand to look like a resilient yet stunted tree. It’s a good metaphor for the tough life on the Andean high plains, and the icon of Bolivia’s Eduardo Abaroa National Wildlife Reserve.

The popular 1.7 million-acre park is often likened to
Yellowstone for its mix of geysers, hot springs, moonscapes, and mountains. It draws roughly 80,000 visitors annually, but its vastness and isolation (650 miles from La Paz) make oversight difficult. Tailings from in-park mining sites and a lack of public facilities have contributed to park pollution. Visitors drive over fragile land. In surrounding communities, 99.4 percent of the population lives in poverty.

Resplendent Roadkill, Almost

On a clear day from the top of western Panama’s 11,400-foot Volcán Barú, you can see the Pacific Ocean to the south and the azure Caribbean to the north. A little harder to spot is the best route around the dormant volcano, the centerpiece of the 35,000-acre Volcán Barú National Park. In 2003, CSF and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) performed an analysis to find out.